Every time my friend Lisa and her family come for dinner, food seems to taste better. Before we get together Lisa and I discuss menu options and try to come up with dishes that compliment each other. At this time of year we both have vegetables growing in our backyards that we are either dying to try out in recipes, or, vegetables that are out of control, like the prevalent yellow squash in Lisa’s enviable garden.
I, on the other hand, needed to thin out my explosion of lemon basil! After a fun phone conversation about food, and what cocktails to serve, she decided on a 3 cheese squash casserole, and a berry crisp for dessert, using her own raspberries, and some locally grown blueberries. This dessert was not an option, but an obligation. My son would have been visibly depressed if she did not parade into the house with her famous berry crisp under her arm! I have to admit that Lisa makes a hell of a warm berry dessert. I haven’t even asked for the recipe. Why should I try making it only to be disappointed? When it comes to fruity sweets, she has magic hands.
I decided on fish for several reasons. It would be fast, so more time for chat. It was also a light protein and would suit our 90* weather, and, I could put a dent in my lemon basil! I also choose to use the gorgeous potatoes from my CSA box (see top right of my blog for more details on this), along with some other locally grown spuds. I made a parsley butter using my own parsley and bathed each and every potato in it! Nothing like potatoes and fish!
Can I say the dinner was awesome, even though I made it myself? I can, and it was! The fish and the unctuous lemony broth were divine paired with the local potatoes and Lisa’s fantastic squash dish. If I detested my company I would have been quite happy to endure the evening because of the food. Luckily, the company was equally loved, which made last night’s dinner another one to log into my bank of good memories to be taken out to cheer me up whenever I’m having a bad day.
White fish in Aromatic Lemon Basil Broth
You will need: 16 to 18 pieces of white fish (I used Tilapia), rinsed and dried, 2 to 3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil, 3 shallots, roughly chopped, 2 bunching onions or 4 scallions, including green parts, sliced, 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped, 10 lemon basil leaf stalks or sweet basil leaf stalks, left whole (each stalk should have 4 to six leaves on it), 1 cup white wine, 1 cup veggie or chicken broth, (or 1 cup water and 1 crumbled veggie bouillon cube), coarse sea salt (I use Maldon salt flakes) ans freshly ground black pepper.
1 – Put big saute pan on low/medium heat and add oil. Cook shallots, garlic and onions (or scallions) for 10 minutes, until soft. Add wine and turn heat up and let the wine bubble gently for about 3 minutes before adding the broth or water and bouillon cube.
Bring to a simmer and then lay an even single layer of fish into pan. Season fish with a little salt and pepper and lay 4 or 5 of the basil stalks over fish.
3 – Add another layer of fish and basil and continue until all the fish is stacked between basil in pan. Bring liquid to a gentle simmer. Turn heat down, cover and cook for 8 minutes or until fish is just cooked.
4 – Remove pan from heat and leave lid on until ready to serve.
This is an amazing fish dish and is good on its own or with boiled potatoes with parsley butter (recipe to be posted), rice or pasta.
Note: The lemon basil can be eaten or discarded (I found the broth had all the flavor and I did not need the actual lemon basil leaves)